News Corporation had partnered with Asus to launch its education-centric Amplify tablet that’s designed to be a complete ecosystem for use inside and out of the classroom environment. Unlike various solutions offered before that are apps-based and is centered around a textbook experience, Amplify is built on Google’s Android operating system and seems to be a complete ecosystem that delivers content, classroom instructions and educational tools, as well as functional resources for studying.
Additionally, the New York Times reports that Amplify will also work with schools to provide infrastructure to manage and store student data.
The tablet was tested at a number of public schools in November. Initially, Amplify will be targeted at middle school students, but the tablet will be aimed at the K-12 segment.
The Amplify tablet bears similar specs to Asus’ Transformer Pad TF300L tablet, with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor at its core and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. It also sports the latest Android Jelly Bean operating system. The tablet starts at $299 and there will be an optional Amplify subscription for $99 per year that provides access to additional curriculum elements. A $349 tablet includes 4G for those without broadband or WiFi at home.
The video posted below provides a great overall look at the various elements that Amplify provides, including the ease of taking attendance in class, quickly polling and quizzing students and getting real-time feedback on student understanding, and the ability to dynamically and instantly update curriculum and push new contents to students. Amplify also allows the teacher to manage a fleet of tablets and block access to certain apps at will as well.
Amplify is a more complete solution than an e-textbook app like Kindle or Barnes & Noble textbooks. It allows teachers to monitor and track progress and provides additional tools and games for students to learn with.
In addition to Amplify, there are other tablets in education initiative that are more focused on delivering technology at lower costs. One such initiative is the Intel Storybook tablet.